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Vi­o­lat­ing the law of pop records, Bro­ken So­cial Scene’s lat­est is one of the few discs that gets pro­gres­sively bet­ter as it goes along.

For­give­ness Rock Record (Arts & Crafts) At a Bro­ken So­cial Scene show, up to 19 mem­bers may take the stage strum­ming gui­tars, blow­ing horns, and stroking vi­o­lins. Yet the re­sult on the group’s new al­bum, For­give­ness Rock Record, is less like Phish and more like Sonic Youth if they ever veered into jam-band ter­ri­tory. Epic, rau­cous and sen­sual, the new disc clocks in at 70-plus min­utes, chock full of seven-minute songs whose frag­mented lyrics sug­gest both po­lit­i­cal turmoil and frayed re­la­tion­ships. That’s the prin­ci­ple at work in “World Sick,” the al­bum’s open­ing cut, which floats on waves of re­peat­ing gui­tar and horn crescen­dos. De­spite its catchy hook, “Tex­ico Bitches” is a bit­ing send-up of oil-com­pany hubris, all the more rel­e­vant in the wake of BP’s dis­as­ter in the Gulf of Mex­ico. Over the past decade, the Toronto-based band has at­tracted a le­gion of fans for its sin­cere, non­ironic in­die rock that de­picts the tangled, tran­si­tory mess of friends and lovers in which so many spend their 20s and 30s. “A friend of a friend you used to call/Or a friend of a friend you used/You used to call,” sings BSS mem­ber Emily Haines in “Sen­ti­men­tal X’s.” Vi­o­lat­ing the law of pop records, it’s one of the few discs that gets pro­gres­sively bet­ter as it goes along, gen­tly wind­ing down in pace, yet sa­vor­ing it all as it goes, like a night out on the town with long-lost friends.

— Casey Sanchez

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